The 6 Best 3D Printers for Beginners in 2022

Start a new creative hobby or expand your design skills

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The price of 3D printers has declined since they were first introduced to the masses years ago, making the hobby more accessible to beginners. Whether you're a designer, an artist, or you're just looking for something to do, there are 3D printers for everyone's skillset.

The best options for newcomers are easy to use, uncomplicated to build, and don't demand knowledge of modeling software. Many people use 3D printers to create art and hobby board game components, but you can also use them for architecture model design, dental appliances, jewelry, or toys.

We've thoroughly analyzed the market to identify the best 3D printers for novices.

Best Overall: Comgrow Official Creality Ender 3 V2 3D Printer

Comgrow Official Creality Ender 3 V2 3D Printer

Amazon

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Easy to use

  • Large, durable print bed

What We Don't Like
  • Difficult to change filament mid-print

  • Leveling is challenging

  • No touchscreen

Without breaking the bank, the Creality Ender 3 V2 3D printer has everything you could ever want in a beginner 3D printer. It's affordable, but that's no reflection of its performance and quality.

The Ender 3 V2 is capable of printing in a number of materials. Its carborundum glass platform ensures the print bed provides uniform heat. It also heats quickly, so each layer—especially your first layer—bonds to the bed without the assistance of adhesives. While the printer works, whether via USB cable or SD card, the silent motherboard supports faster printing, stable motion performance, anti-interference, and low-decibel operation. The printer's equipped with a resume printing function, so it restarts at the last printed layer in the event of a power loss. 

Unfortunately, the printer's 4.3-inch color LCD screen isn't a touchscreen, though it's still easy to navigate, and you can effortlessly change settings. And keep in mind that leveling the Ender 3 V2's print bed is challenging, but it's able to produce many prints between leveling. Regardless of desirable upgrades, this printer is the perfect choice to get you started.

Type: Filament (PLA, ABS, TPU, PETG) | Features: Resume printing function, silent motherboard, extruder rotary knob, carborundum glass platform | Connectivity: None | LCD Screen: 4.3-inch color LCD screen

From terrain to figurines, I’ve been able to make so much with this printer and I’ve never had to use adhesive on the print bed.” — Erika Rawes, Product Tester

Best Value: AnyCubic Photon UV LCD 3D Printer

AnyCubic Photon UV LCD 3D Printer

Amazon

What We Like
  • Smooth, quality prints

  • Included software

  • Easy setup

What We Don't Like
  • Small build volume

  • Complex process compared to filament printers

Anycubic's Photon Mono UV 3D printer provides the best value for an introductory 3D printer. It has a sleek, industrial metal design with a satin finish. Setup is painless thanks to the included software, and it has only four settings that call for immediate customization (unlike the full assembly process required by most 3D printers).

Here, fewer settings don't mean you're making any substantial sacrifices. The printer's resolution is reasonably high with first-rate accuracy and smooth detail, and Anycubic's printing speed is almost three times faster than regular 3D printers. Navigation is a breeze due to the 6-inch LCD screen. The interactive interface allows users to preview the monitor and print status in real-time.

Since the Photon Mono UV prints with liquid resin, it behaves differently than a filament printer. Resin printers cure liquid resin using UV light. They need a cover to block ineffective light from interacting with the prints and ruining them. But don't worry about having to buy a separate cover for this device; AnyCubic incorporated a UV-blocking cover with the Photon Mono UV's design. For an additional cost, you can purchase a Wash & Cure Machine from AnyCubic.

Just keep in mind that while a resin printer like the Photon Mono UV develops a smoother end product, the development process is different and more complex than using a filament printer.

Type: Resin | Features: Included slicer software, UV blocking cover, Easy FEB replacement, fast print speed | Connectivity: None | LCD Screen: 6-inch 2K monochrome LCD

Best Budget: MYNT3D Super 3D Pen

MYNT3D Super 3D Pen

Amazon

What We Like
  • No need for a computer

  • Doesn't clog easily

  • Slider speed control for ideal extrusion speed

What We Don't Like
  • Limited printing capabilities

  • Minimal compatible materials

Are you looking for an ultra-affordable 3D printer? MYNT3D has you covered. Although the Super 3D Pen is not a traditional 3D printer, it gets the job done by working like a filament printer. It emits instantly-cooled PLA or ABS filament, so you can "draw" almost any shape in 3D. 

Accuracy—or lack thereof—is the biggest issue with opting for a 3D pen over an actual 3D printer. Your finished products won't have the same precision or size you'd get using a traditional 3D printer. For beginners, however, freehand printing offers unmatched benefits. The Super 3D Pen allows you to quickly and easily create and repair 3D shapes without first designing them on a computer. And unlike a traditional 3D printer, this lightweight pen allows you to craft on the go.

Type: 3D Pen (PLA, ABS) | Features: Readiness indicator light, speed slider, ultrasonic sealed nozzle | Connectivity: None | LCD Screen: None

Best for Tinkerers: Monoprice Select Mini 2

Monoprice Select Mini 2

Amazon

What We Like
  • Fully assembled and integrated software

  • Can work with numerous materials

  • Multiple connectivity options

What We Don't Like
  • Aluminum, non-glass print bed

  • Extremely compact

For newbies who desire a 3D printer equipped with all the bells and whistles, the Monoprice Select Mini 2 is a solid mid-range printer. It's effortless to operate, even with the premium features Monoprice integrated into its design. Not only does the printer ship fully assembled, but its software is also already fully integrated. If you're familiar with a popular program like Cura or Repetier, you won't experience much of a learning curve. The pre-calibrated Select Mini 2 is agreeable with your slicer of choice and preferred computer operating system, whether it's Windows or macOS.

The heated build plate, range of extruder temperatures, and high maximum temperature in Monoprice's 3D printer let you work with a variety of simple and advanced materials. You'll also enjoy fast printing speeds and built-in fans that help to cool materials quickly.

Regrettably, the Monoprice Select Mini 2 has a relatively small build scope. Also, given its open design and absence of a protective enclosure, you need to be careful around the heated build plate to avoid burning yourself. On the flip side, the Wi-Fi-enabled printer is compact enough to sit comfortably on any desk.

Type: Filament (PLA, ABS, TPU, PETG) | Features: Wi-Fi connectivity, fully assembled, heated build plate, small-footprint design | Connectivity: Wi-Fi | LCD Screen: 3.7-inch IPS color screen

Most Versatile: FlashForge Finder 3D Printer

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What We Like
  • Assisted leveling system

  • Cloud-enabled

  • Seamless build plate removal

What We Don't Like
  • Suits only PLA material

  • Small build volume

If you're shopping for a 3D printer with even more premium functions than the Monoprice Select Mini 2, the FlashForge Finder will likely suit your needs. It works with any computer operating system, and FlashForge designed it to connect to your computer via USB cable, Wi-Fi, or a USB drive.

Once your printer is up and running, you can explore several intelligent features. Thanks to the assisted leveling system, users can calibrate the build plate for precise printing via instructions on the printer's 3.5-inch color touchscreen. The Finder's slide-in plate isn't heated and is easily removable. This particular build plate allows you to avoid damaging your creation and the build plate itself. Having a non-heated plate also reduces the potential safety concerns if you're using the 3D printer in a classroom or with your own children.

Need updates throughout the printing process? You can use FlashForge's FlashCloud to keep an eye on the printing status. Along with monitoring the development of your 3D creation, you can preserve, edit, and share your models and view a database of models. When it comes to filament suitable for printing, the Finder prints only non-toxic PLA. FlashForge also generously furnishes a free spool to kick off your printing hobby with your purchase.

Type: Filament (PLA only) | Features: Quiet printing, Wi-Fi, slide-in build plate, assisted leveling system, cloud functionality | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, cloud functionality | LCD Screen: 3.5-inch color LCD touchscreen

Most Build Volume: ANYCUBIC Mega-S 3D Printer

Anycubic Mega-S

eBay

What We Like
  • Extraordinary build volume

  • Remarkable resolution

  • Reasonably priced

What We Don't Like
  • Loud during operation

  • Complaints of damaged hardware upon arrival

Anycubic makes the list again with Mega-S, a relatively inexpensive 3D printer good for printing larger objects; a 3D printer with these specifications is unheard of.

It gets hot, making it suitable for common materials and even wood. Anycubic didn’t insert insulation into the Mega-S, so it's a little loud during operation as a result. It’s also shipped only 90 percent assembled; the main components are already put together, and users only have to follow a few steps to get it up and running.

Anycubic’s 3D printer comes with a ton of accessories including a USB cable, card reader, sample filament, tools to clear blockages, extra nozzles, and an SD card loaded with designs.

Type: TPU/PLA/ABS/HIPS/PETG/Wood | Features: Resume print and sensor detection, lifetime technical support, large printing size | Connectivity: Memory card, data cable | LCD Screen: 3.5-inch color touchscreen

Final Verdict

The best 3D printer for beginners is the Official Crealty Ender 3 V2 (view at Amazon). It's easy to use, well-suited for a variety of filaments, and it has a good-sized print bed. If you're not in the market for a full-sized, traditional printer, we like the MYNT3D Super 3D Pen (view at Amazon). It's an affordable option for those who want the design basics without any added frills. 

What to Look For in a 3D Printer For Beginners

Print Bed Size

Establish how big or small you want your creations to be. Print beds vary in size, so make sure you get one large enough for the 3D products you're creating. Smaller print beds are challenging if you want to print moderately sized or larger products. Software may be necessary to divide the model and then glue segments together, which can be difficult. If you're unsure about the size of the items you want, opt for a bed with several inches on each side.

Heated Print Bed

Print bed temperature is vitally important to ensure your first printed layer sticks to the bed properly. Without a heated bed, you'll create something that resembles a bird's nest made of plastic. If a heated print bed isn't in your required specifications, a glass bed is another viable option that supports adhesion. Other bed types can work, but they may need an adhesive to perform optimally, translating to more work and more money.

Type of Material

Do you want to use resin or filament? There are pros and cons to both. Filament is usually a bit easier to use. On the other hand, resin isn't as effortless as it requires curing and cleaning but prints smoother. If you decide on a 3D printer that employs filament, make sure your printer can use the type of filament you prefer, as some printers only use a certain type.

FAQ
  • Are 3D printers easy to use?

    Like any new hobby, 3D printing takes some time to learn, but you can learn the basics easily through a wealth of online tutorials and content. Expect to spend about a day or two learning about 3D printing and getting set up before getting your first print started. You also don't need to learn how to design in 3D, as tons of sites provide free designs.

  • How much is a decent 3D printer?

    A good entry-level home 3D printer should cost around $300 to $400. You get a quality printer with some good features and can print some fun items in this price range. Once you decide if you like the hobby or not, you can choose whether you want to spend more on a printer with a bigger print bed and more advanced features.

  • Is a 3D printer a good investment?

    Yes, 3D printing is actually a good way to save money, and you can wind up with some very cool and unusual items. You can 3D print everything from tools to shelving to toys for your kids. You can even print large items on an entry-level printer if you're comfortable with connecting the pieces together.

About Our Trusted Experts

Nicky LaMarco has been writing and editing for more than 15 years for consumer, trade, and technology publications about many topics, including antivirus, web hosting, and backup software.

Erika Rawes has over a decade of experience as a professional writer and has been published on Digital Trends, USA Today, Cheatsheet.com, and more. Over her career, Erika has reviewed roughly 150 gadgets such as computers, peripherals, A/V equipment, mobile devices, and smart home gadgets.

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